This is the second best trading book of all time, in my opinion. Of course, my favorite book is Market Wizards: Interviews with Top Tradersby Jack Schwager, which is the book that started it all for me.
“Spiritual, Psychological and Philisophical Keys to Becoming a Top Trader” is the subtitle of this book and that is exactly what it is about. In fact, there isn't a single moving average or trading strategy in this book. I found that quite refreshing.
Why We Need to Understand Ourselves
The book starts off by outlining why, as traders, we need to understand ourselves and why we are trading:
“The key to becoming an incredible trader comes from a well-rounded sense of psychology and spirituality. It emerges from a quality of being from within. Understanding ourselves, our emotions, our drives and the way we interact with life and trading are critical to developing a purpose-center, which is a deep accepting of ourselves and our direction in life. You can't make your dreams come true without knowing who you are and why you're doing what you are doing.”
For me, the attraction to trading has always been the ability to live well and have the freedom to experience everything life has to offer. I have always wanted to be free to be my own person, be anywhere in the world, have the time to be with people worth spending time with and to have a skill that would allow me to earn a good living even if someone took it all away and I had to start all over.
This may be a different view of how many people view traders but there are traders who share this outlook on life and trading. As the author Mark Whistler puts it:
“Many people in the financial markets are very, very, mean and greedy people. But there are those who aren't. And when you meet one of them, you know you are in the presence of true brilliance.”
I have had the good fortune to meet a couple just such people and I would agree. In addition to being incredible financial minds, they seem to have certain things in common with other such traders I have read about.
They are always up for an adventure, are compassionate outside of trading, they have quirky senses of humor and are intensely independent and positive.
How Do We Become One of These Great Traders?
He starts off by going in to the development of our purpose-center and mission statement. Without these, we have no map on our journey.
In the first chapter he also discusses what he calls the Dogma of Style. Dogma, in this case, referring to a particular trading style or way of viewing the market. He cautions against not being rigid and only seeing the market in one way. I think this is very useful advice but probably easier said than done.
There are a ton of ideologies, tips and techniques that Whistler goes into in the subsequent chapters. Topics that I have not seen in other trading books such as:
- Being forgiving
- Being grateful
- Developing intuition
He also throws in a few interviews with top traders and athletes to give the reader insight into the mentality of top performers.
I could go on and on but this is just a book that you have to read for yourself. It is by far the most comprehensive book on trading psychology that I have ever read. I actually have to read it again for everything to really sink in.
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